Celeb News

Grant Denyer credits daughter Sailor for getting him through his depression

“I reckon if I didn’t have my daughter at that particular point, I might not be here.”

By Alex Lilly

When Grant Denyer won the coveted Gold Logie at the 60th TV WEEK Logie Awards, he made us laugh and cry with his heartfelt acceptance speech.

But the Family Feud host has opened up more about his struggles with depression and prescription drugs. Speaking candidly to Confidential, Grant says the birth of his daughter, Sailor, and his hosting gig on Family Feud helped him on his road to recovery.

"It was a time where I didn't really give a sh*t whether I lived or died. I felt like I had nothing to live for."

Survey says! Grant scooped up two Logies at the 60th TV WEEK Logie Awards.
Survey says! Grant scooped up two Logies at the 60th TV WEEK Logie Awards.

In 2008, Grant broke his back in eight places after attempting to jump a monster truck over five cars and admits he wasn't sure if he'd be able to walk again. As a result, the presenter spent six months in recovery and was reliant on painkillers.

"There are all sorts of traps that come with medications and warnings and no one prepares you for that — it is a hard cycle to get out of. I was just a bit broken, sad, lost."

"I mentally wasn't well, I was on pain medication for long time, and I probably wasn't aware of the effects of that. I just didn't have an education to be able to deal with it. I think I was caught in that trap and a whole whirlwind of emotions that meant I was at my lowest," he said.

Grant was never officially diagnosed with depression, but he spoke about how even those with the biggest smiles people can be suffering inside.

"I never let myself be put in a position where somebody could recognise that. I think everyone who suffers from depression does a very good job of hiding it — I thought I was in pain physically, but I think I was a bit more damaged internally than that," he said.

"It is a bit cleansing and feels healthy to put it out there. People ask what depression looks like and probably looking at these smiley TV teeth of mine, that can be the face of depression. I am only still trying to understand it myself."

Grant's daughters Sailor, 7, and Scout, 2, are two of his biggest fans.
Grant's daughters Sailor, 7, and Scout, 2, are two of his biggest fans.

The only person Grant could rely on was his doting wife Cheryl, but things turned around after the arrival of their eldest daughter, Sailor.

"That is the only thing that kept me going at my worst, the fact I had someone that loved me and depended on me, and I could not let her down and I think that is possibly the only thing that got me through."

A few years afterwards,Family Feud came along and in his Gold Logie acceptance speech, Grant thanked the show for helping him with his recovery.

"I really wasn't sure if I'd ever work again or if I wanted to. I wasn't particularly in a very good place. I wasn't very well. I was in a bit of a hole. I was pretty sad. I was a bit lost and Family Feud came along and I was very unwell at that particular time. And Family Feud gave me a ladder out of that hole," he said.

Grief/depression/suicidal thoughts:
If you or anyone you know is suffering, please contact Lifeline (lifeline.org.au) on 1311 14 or visit Headspace at (headspace.org.au). Visit Beyond Blue at (beyondblue.org.au) or call 1300 22 4636. You can also contact the Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800.